East Texas area students are set to return to classrooms next month for the start of the 2021-22 school year and the first day of school will look a little different than last year’s first day of school.

With students returning to school next month and the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winding down, the first day of school will go a bit differently than last year’s first day of school for many students.

Due to a previous order this summer from Gov. Greg Abbott, masks will be optional for students at school for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Students have the choice of wearing a mask or not on campuses.

In addition, students will not be kept outside of the school building on the first day of school while they wait for a temperature check from administrators and teachers.

Students are still encouraged to carry hand sanitizers, wash hands frequently while at school and supplies will also be provided in the classrooms for those students who do not have hand sanitizer in their backpacks or lockers.

Harleton ISD students are the first in the area to return to classrooms when school begins on Aug. 9.

Waskom ISD students are next to return to school on Aug. 11.

Marshall ISD and Hallsville ISD students return to school on Aug. 12.

Elysian Fields ISD students return to school on Aug. 16.

Jefferson ISD students, and Karnack ISD students, who also follow Jefferson’s academic calendar, return to school on Aug. 18.

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